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Alternative History

Alternative History:Terminology

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A Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations used in alternate history:

  • Alternative History - Also known as Alternate History or simply, Althist, is literary speculation on "what might have been," had some event (or events) in the past happened differently than it did in our history. For a list of Alternative Histories on Althist Wiki, see List of Althists.
  • Timeline - A chronological listing of events, also often used as a synonym for Althist.
  • OTL - Our Timeline, is how history unfolded as we remember it. Often used as a "baseline" in alternate history and time travel stories to illustrate changes in history caused by characters.
  • ATL - Alternate Timeline, a chronological listing of events as they occured, had events in the past not happened, or had they happened in a different way than in our history.
  • TTL - This Timeline
  • *here* - another term for OTL.
  • *there* - another term to ATL.
  • POD - Point of Divergence, the point at which two timelines diverge, and the beginning of an Alternate Timeline.
  • Butterfly effect - a term from chaos theory. The butterfly effect means that even smallest changes can have great repercussions, given enough time.
  • Wank - An alternate history timeline or story in which a particular nation is made unrealistically powerful. Similar to the concept of the Mary Sue in fan fiction, and often treated with similar disdain.
  • Alien Space Bats - A humorous explanation for how a highly implausible point of divergence came to occur.
  • ISOT - Islands in the Sea Of Time - a term for a timeline where an area or multiple areas of the world are replaced with areas from different timelines or periods in history
  • Multiverse

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